Two men suffocate and die in a septic tank in Kitengela

Kitengela septic tank

Curious onlookers at the scene where two men who were repairing a septic tank suffocated and died in Kitengela town on October 6, 2021.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

Two men who were repairing a septic tank in Kapiti area of EPZ Kitengela Wednesday died after suffocating while one of their colleagues escaped death by a whisker.

According to the management of the apartment where they were working, a plumber had been engaged to do some routine repair work on the septic tank that was leaking before tragedy struck around 4pm Wednesday.

Eyewitnesses said three men inspected the drainage system of the apartment before opening the three septic tanks within the compound with the intention of doing some repairs.

One of the men who was inside the septic tank was heard screaming, prompting the other to rush to save him but, unfortunately, he also drowned.

The screams of the other colleague attracted tenants of the two-storey building and neighbours.

"My friend made a living by repairing septic tanks. I was with him in the morning and we were supposed to meet in the evening to catch up. It’s unfortunate he died this way," said one of the victims’ friends.

Surging crowd

Officers from Kitengela Police Station who were notified of the incident arrived immediately to contain the surging crowd that had turned up to witness the incident.

The officers and county government officials had a rough time containing the curious onlookers.

Those who turned up following the screams narrated how they were unable to help owing to the depth of the septic tanks that require skills to access.

"Distress calls brought us from our respective houses but we could not help much. A dangerous gas was coming from the septic tank and we were scared," said a tenant.

It took the Kajiado emergency department and Kenya Red Cross officers more than an hour to retrieve the bodies.

Confirming the incident Isinya Sub-County Police Commander Charles Chepkonga urged landlords to be cautious while handling sewerage systems to avert such deaths.

Kitengela town has no sewerage system and landlords rely on septic tanks which are regularly emptied and the waste dumped in Machakos and Nairobi counties.

The bodies of the two were moved to Kitengela Sub-County Hospital mortuary awaiting identification and post-mortem.

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